Become a School Teacher in California, Ca

So, you want to become a shaper of young minds in the beautiful sunshine state? Need some help getting a push in the right direction? Well congratulations, you landed here and that’s a good start. Let’s start by looking at the overview of the teaching industry in California. California ranks highest in the nation for average teacher salary at $59,825 and 9th best in average starting salary at $35,760 (according to with a 3.9% salary raise last year and 41.6% over the last 10 years. The state boasts a student population of about 6,305,000 students with an impressive student to teacher ration of 21.0, and 32% of the states educational budget is allocated to the teachers. Teachers in California are in demand, so much so that California is actually giving College students incentive programs to become teachers, including a Federal Student Loan forgiveness plan, $20,000 incentives for teaching in certain schools, and Teacher Home Purchasing programs. With a population greater then Canada’s and still growing, job security is phenomenal. Now is one of the best markets ever for becoming a teacher in California, so what exactly does it take to become one?

Preliminary Credential

First things first, you must receive Preliminary Credential which is valid for 5 years.

In order to receive Preliminary Credential, you must have:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution
  • Completed the Teacher Preparation Program (including student teaching)
  • Passed a basic skills proficiency test, either the CBEST, CSET, or CSU
  • Passed the CSET in a particular subject to demonstrate course matter proficiency
  • Completed the “Developing English Language Skills” reading instruction course, the “U.S. Constitution” course, and the “Foundational Computer Technology” course.
  • Passed the “Reading Instruction Competence Assessment”
  • Pass criminal background check.

(An in depth description of these general requirements can be found here-

After the completing the general requirements listed above, you must decide whether you wish to receive single or multiple subject credential.

Single Subject Credential-
A single subject credential is required to teach middle or secondary school, and allows you to work in preschool, K-5, and adult classes.

Multiple Subject Credential-
A multiple subject credential is tailored for Elementary school education, and allows you to work in preschool, K-12, and adult classes, however specific districts may require more qualifications.

Clear Credential

The next step is to receive a Clear Credential, which is renewable after 5 years.

To obtain a Clear Credential, you must do one of the following:

  • Complete a PTIP (Professional Teacher Induction Program)
  • Receive National Board Certification
  • Assuming all other requirements are met you may be able to intern while completing a Credential
  • Apply an out of state teaching credential to a Preliminary Credential, with Clear Credential requirements depend upon which area you wish to teach and your experience

Once you have received your Clear Credential, you are recognized as a bona fide educator in the state of California, and so long as you renew it every 5 years your on your way to teaching our next generation what they need to succeed.